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Flax/Linen - Fashion History Through Textiles Unit Study 4

Updated on September 14, 2014

The last module!

The fourth and last module in the the Fashion History Through Textiles unit study is about flax, which produces linen. This fabric is for more than just for tablecloths as you will learn in this brief study. Follow the process of plant to product while also doing activities in english, math, art, history, geography and more! The fun and learning combined makes this a great supplement to your lessons!

Module 4: Flax/Linen

Flax is a tall and slender plant with bell-shaped, blue flower. There are two types of flax plants, one grown for fibers and the other grown for seeds. The fiber flax plant is cultivated, harvested and processed in order to create linen fabric. The properties of linen make it ideal for a variety of things including, bedding, draperies, clothing and more.

Did You Know?

Fragments of flax fiber, and fabric have been around since the Stone Age.

Flax harvesting

Flax/Linen unit study

Flax is harvested by pulling the plants when the fibers are soft. The pulled plants are bundled and allowed to dry.

There are five steps to the flax process, rippling, retting, breaking, scutching and hackling.

Spinning, weaving, dyeing

Flax/Linen unit study

Flax processing results in two types of flax fiber, line flax and tow flax. A spinning wheel or distaff can be used to spin flax fiber. The spun yarn is then wound onto skeins. The finishing process includes setting the twist which helps stabilize the yarn and scouring which softens, cleans and shrinks the yarn. The best and easiest method of dyeing linen is to dye the yarn. Linen can be woven, knitted, and used for making paper.

In modern day chemical dyes are used for colouring but once plants were used to colour the yarn. Do you know what colour onion skin can create? What about celery? Do you know they even used crushed bug as a dye?

Did You Know?

Blue was made with indigo which had to be imported from Asia.

Linen in Ancient Egypt

Flax/Linen unit study

Linen cloth was used extensively in Ancient Egypt as the flax plant grew along the Nile river. It was used for clothing, towels, bedsheets, sails, fishing nets and ropes.

Linen was also used in Ancient Egypt to wrap their dead! The dead were wrapped in linen as part of the ritual of death - it was a long process to create mummies to preserve the bodies.

Did You Know?

Children of ancient Egypt did not wear clothes until they were about six years old.

Linen as clothing

Flax/Linen unit study

Linen is one of the strongest plant fibers and flax fiber can be woven into a wide range of fabrics from handkerchief sheerness to mailbag sturdiness. Linen fabrics vary according to their weave pattern and can be damask, plain-woven, loosely woven, sheeting or a linen blend.

Download the entire unit study to find out about various types of clothing made from linen.

Did You Know?

Other plants that has fiber used to make clothing include Hemp and Bamboo.

How to care for linens

Try it yourself

If this preview has peeked your interest than you should download the entire unit study to reap the full benefits. Also, you should try the other modules that cover Silk, Wool and Cotton.

For the complete unit study message us through hedremp at yahoo dot ca

Amazon resources (blibliography)

Comments on my page? - Thanks for reading!

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    • profile image

      poutine 5 years ago

      Very educational lens.

    • Coreena Jolene profile image

      Coreena Jolene 5 years ago

      Very interesting. I always try to put myself in the place of a person back in ancient times. Who was that first person that figured out how to make fabric like that. I would have never thought of it. Great stuff here.